What is Operation ID?
Operation ID is a very important deterrent in the prevention of burglary and theft. Here’s how it works:
Mark your valuables with one of two sets of numbers:
- your NC Driver’s License number, or
- a number assigned by your local police department.
After engraving the items, place a small Operation ID sticker on the exterior doors of your residence and garage/outbuildings. This serves as a warning to would-be burglars that all valuables on the premises are marked for easy identification.
Everyone is urged to participate. The program is designed to protect your business as well as your home, and help you recover your property in the event it is lost or stolen.
How does the program prevent burglaries?
Law enforcement officers know that the average burglar is an opportunist. In most cases, he doesn’t care whether he breaks into your house or your neighbors’. He just wants to get in and out quickly and steal those items that can easily be sold for cash.
Burglars know that if they are caught with marked merchandise it’s solid evidence against them. Fences don’t like to handle marked items, so chances are better that the burglar will leave your home alone and head for easier choices.
How do you join Operation ID?
Contact your local law enforcement agency and they will loan you, free of charge, an electric engraving device. They will also provide Operation ID stickers.
Engrave your valuables with the letters NC followed by either the North Carolina License Number which appears on your driver’s license or an individual number assigned by your law enforcement agency.
Place the Operation ID stickers on exterior doors and windows.
It’s also a good idea to record the model and serial numbers of valuable items, including credit cards, and keep the records in a safe place. This helps when notifying your insurance company or describing to police what is missing, if a burglary does occur.
Which items should you engrave?
The best rule of thumb is: Mark anything of value that a burglar (or two) could remove from your premises. Use the checklist as a starting guideline.
- Fishing Gear
- Power mowers
- Stereo Systems
- Kitchen Appliances
- Cellular Phones
- Musical instruments
Where should items be engraved?
Part of Operation ID’s objectives are to warn burglars away, so don’t try to hide the fact that an item has been engraved. Mark items as conspicuously as possible without defacing them.
Obviously, some valuables such as jewelry, antiques and silverware cannot be marked without reducing their value. Photograph items in your residence and work areas for identification, using either a standard camera, smart phone, or a camcorder. Use of a camcorder or smart phone allows you to not only show a photo of the item but also record audio to describe the items. Although it does not guarantee police will be able to trace your items, it is just another tool you have in helping to identify your lost or stolen property.
Where Do I Find An Engraver?
Your local law enforcement agency will loan you an electric engraver that is easy and safe to operate for marking your valuables.
Here are some helpful tips
Before marking valuables, get the “feel” of the engraver by writing your name a few times on a piece of scrap material. Hold the engraver as you would a pencil, with your fingertips touching the plastic above
the point. There is no need to press down on the engraver. Just move your hand slowly and evenly, allowing the vibrating point to do the work.
When engraving on glass, ceramic and wood, hold the point vertical to the material to prevent chipping and splintering.
Remember – Be considerate
There are only a limited number of these engravers, please return it as soon as you are finished marking items. If your lending agency has a loan agreement time, return the engraver within that time frame, or check to see if it is okay to keep it for an extended time period before doing so.
Take the offensive
A burglary occurs every 12 minutes! A theft occurs every 7 minutes! Operation Identification is one basic step you can take to prevent larcenies.
Good lighting, good locks, and other security measures can be taken to prevent crime in your community. For further information, contact your law enforcement agency.